March 2010

More ways to get involved at Brixton Village

UPDATE: The Space Makers project at Brixton Village finished in October 2010, but there are still plenty of other ways to get involved. Please contact The Brick Box community arts hub for more information.

When we started work at Brixton Village in November, there were twenty shops sitting empty. Since then, hundreds of people have come together to fill its avenues with new businesses, creative projects and pop-​up events.

This started with the offer of three months rent-​free space — but it only succeeds if the market continues to be full of life and activity into the future. There mustn’t be a moment when things empty out again.

The good news is that a number of the first Space Makers shops which opened in December are now ready to become long-​term rent-​paying tenants in the market. There are also great new independent businesses which have opened in the market in the past month, outside of the Space Makers scheme — including the Olive Tree Moroccan restaurant, Bellantoni’s artisan pasta place and vintage fashion shop Rejuvenate — and more are due to open next month.

The bad news — for those of you wanting to get your hands on a space — is that the success of the scheme means there won’t be more three-​month rent-​free periods on offer.

However, there are still several ways you can get involved:

1. Shops for rent

There are some shops available on normal rents from the market’s owners. For more information, email [email protected]​spacemakers.​org.​uk and we’ll put you in touch with the market management team.

2. Short-​term pop-​ups

There will be some temporary pop-​up opportunities to use a shop rent-​free for a week or more, when there are gaps between rentals. If you have a project and you can move fast, send a one-​page description of what you want to do to [email protected]​spacemakers.​org.​uk

Unlike the original competition in November, there is no deadline for this — we’re creating an ongoing pool of potential pop-​ups, so that space at the market doesn’t sit empty and people have the opportunity to use it. You’ll get rent-​free use of the space, but you’ll have to be ready to move out at seven days notice.

We’ll be looking for projects which are rooted in Brixton, fit with the existing independent businesses and creative activities at the market — and are able to come into a shop within seven days of getting a call from us!

We know that’s insanely short notice, but we also know that there are people and groups out there which can rise to the challenge. If that sounds like you, then send us your proposal as soon as you can. We’re looking to bring the first new pop-​ups in very soon!

3. Events at Brixton Village

Every week, we run an open meeting for people interested in getting involved with the events that happen at the market — performances, workshops, one-​day pop-​ups. This is your chance to make Saturdays special and to come up with ideas for what else we can do to make the market work for everyone.

Come and join us on Tuesday nights at the Dogstar, Coldharbour Lane. We’re there from 6.15 to 7.30pm. Bring your ideas and get together with people to make them happen.

Help us map London’s “forgotten spaces”

Is there an empty building you walk past every day that you wish something would happen to? A patch of ground that you’d like to turn into an urban orchard? Or a streetcorner that, with a bit of imagination, could get your neighbours talking to each other?

If so, we’re inviting you to add it to the new website we’ve created in partnership with RIBA London — Mapping Forgotten Spaces.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been bringing together groups of architects, designers and artists to explore overlooked and underused spaces around London. It’s all part of RIBA London’s Forgotten Spaces competition — and now we’re inviting everyone to join in discussing the spaces they’ve found and to suggest other spaces you’d like to see reimagined.

The idea of the site is to create an ongoing conversation about spaces which people feel have been neglected, the different uses, experiences and memories which others may have of those spaces, and the possibilities for what happens to them next.

We don’t take the idea of “forgotten” spaces for granted. It immediately leads to questions: who has a space been forgotten by? Who might see it differently? Might it be best left the way it is? How do new projects take account of the relationships people already have to a space?

That’s why we want the site to start conversations. You can add a space and ask questions or suggest ideas for it — then see what other people have to say. Or start by looking at which locations in your area have already been added, and join in the conversation about them.

Mapping Forgotten Spaces is open to everyone, not just entrants to the competition — so explore the site, start adding spaces and tell us what you think.